Buffalo, NY – After an inaugural club season in 2016, the D'Youville women's lacrosse team is ready for full NCAA Division III participation this year and to lay the foundation of a strong program for years to come.
"We are all really excited about starting our season and our program," said head coach Kate Mayhook. "We are lucky to have a group of experienced players who know the game and are able to help our new players."
Of those players, a pair of juniors will help usher the team in their first season due to their experience and leadership skills. Jillian Golding (Lockport, NY/Lockport) and Callan Smith (Amherst, NY/Amherst) veteran captains that were both members of the club team last season. Their knowledge and playing experience will help the team get acclimated to a competitive schedule.
Sophomore Megan Gawrys (Ballston Spa, NY/Ballston Spa) is the third captain on the team and was also a member of the club team last season, offering a voice and history of playing lacrosse. Julie Fleming (Tonawanda, NY/Mt. St. Mary's Academy), Victoria Re (Mechanicsburg, PA/Cumberland Valley) and Michaela McMahon (Grand Island, NY/Grand Island) are all sophomores with playing experience as freshman on the club team.
"Building a program brings together athletes of all levels, beginners and seasoned lacrosse players, and with that comes challenges but our captains, Jillian Golding, Callan Smith and Megan Gawrys, have shown great leadership the past few weeks," said Mayhook.
The team is made up of several dual-sport athletes. They have three women's volleyball players, two cross country runners, two women's soccer player and one women's basketball player, as well as several players who have played for various D'Youville women's teams in the past.
Seniors Kaylee Stewart (Wilson, NY/Wilson) and Jean-Ann Korona (Washingtonville, NY/Washingtonville) are players who have plenty of experience as student-athletes, with each playing four years in volleyball (Stewart) and basketball (Korona). Fellow senior Cassidy Tripi (North Tonawanda, NY/North Tonawanda) will also add leadership in her final season as a Spartan.
The team also features juniors Shannon Robillard (Grand Island, NY/Grand Island), Abby Booth (Hamburg, NY/Frontier), Kiernan Johnson (Cherry Valley, IL/Keith School) and Bailey Tay (Victor, NY/Victor) as well as sophomores Sarah Raimondi (Amherst, NY/Sweet Home) and Amelia Gajewski (Amherst, NY/Sacred Heart Academy).
The freshman class will be the foundation of the program for years to come. Paige Robinson (Kenmore, NY/Mt. St. Mary's Academy), Allison Schuman (Lancaster, NY/Lancaster), Rachel McMahan (Grand Island, NY/Sacred Heart Academy), Alayna Troutman (Amherst, NY/Amherst) and Ashlee Landahl (Hamburg, NY/Hamburg) will help grow the team over their tenures as Spartans. As they progress, they will be looked at as leaders of the team and expected to pass on their knowledge to incoming classes.
Through this season and into the future, Coach Mayhook sees her team growing together and developing their skills to build D'Youville women's lacrosse into a competitive program.
"This season, we are hoping to improve every game, grow our understanding of the game and build a strong foundation for our program."
The first game for the women comes on Thursday, March 9 as the Spartans host Buffalo State at Dobson Field. Game time is 4:30pm.